A win is always encouraging. And when it comes after a rough patch, it tastes even sweeter. Ask MS Dhoni and he’d certainly agree. November 19 was the day India won the first Test in Ahmedabad. Thirty-one days and three Test matches later, India finally managed to get the better of England by five wickets in the first Twenty20 match at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Ghaunje, near here, on Thursday.
Yuvraj Singh (3/19 & 38) was rightfully adjudged Man of the Match after India chased the 158-run target with 13 balls to spare.
Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir gave India a quick start, scoring 48 for the opening wicket. But it was Yuvraj’s blitzkrieg (38; 21 balls, 2x4, 3x6) that deflated England. Yes, he did come a cropper in the Tests, but no one messes with him in T20 cricket. Virat Kohli (21), Suresh Raina (26) and Dhoni (24*) also made vital contributions.
Earlier, it was Yuvraj’s economical and probing spell which put the brakes on England’s scoring. After winning the toss, Dhoni asked Eoin Morgan to bat. England got a perfect start thanks to Alex Hales, who made a quick 50 (26 balls), and Luke Wright (34 off 21).
Though R Ashwin did well to send opener Michael Lumb back to pavilion in the third over, Hales and Wright held fort and scored some quick runs. The duo added 68 runs for the second wicket in just seven overs.
A desperate Dhoni tried as many as seven bowlers, including Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli, but it was Yuvraj who came good. The enigmatic all-rounder checked the soaring run-rate till Samit Patel (24) arrived. Patel took no time in settling in and tried to make amends before it was too late. He, along with Jos Buttler (33 off 21), took England to a respectable score.
Ashok Dinda took two wickets from the three overs he bowled, while debutant Parvinder Awana failed to impress, finishing with 2-0-29-0. India have taken a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. The teams will meet again for the final match at the Wankhede in Mumbai on Saturday.